Search underway for Toronto firefighter missing on Whiteface
WILMINGTON — Searchers are scouring Whiteface Mountain Ski Center for a 49-year-old Toronto firefighter who went missing there Wednesday.
The state Olympic Regional Development Authority, which manages the ski center, is the lead agency in the search. ORDA spokesman Jon Lundin said an aerial search was conducted this morning and that a ground search is underway this afternoon. He said 35 people are looking, including personnel from ORDA, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, state police and U.S. Border Patrol.
Frank Ramagnano, spokesman for the Toronto Professional Firefighters Association, confirmed that the missing man was part of a group of off-duty and retired Toronto firefighters making an annual ski trip to Lake Placid and Whiteface. Both Ramagnano and Lundin declined to identify the man at this time.
“At this point we don’t know what family members have been notified,” Ramagnano said.
Lundin said the man is an intermediate skier. Ramagnano said he has gone on this annual trip before and skis regularly.
Lundin said the skier’s friends reported him missing around 4:30 p.m. Ramagnano said that after the center closed at 4 p.m., the man’s fellow firefighters found his belongings in the lodge and his vehicle in the parking lot, but couldn’t find him.
“The bag where he had left his regular shoes was still sitting where they had left them in the morning,” Ramagnano said. “That’s when they obviously became alarmed that something was wrong.”
Lundin said the man was last seen at the top of the Little Whiteface spur, where the gondola leads, and that he was wearing a green jacket.
Whiteface’s ski terrain is all open as usual amid the search.
Thirteen inches of natural snow fell on Whiteface in the last 24 hours.